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Taboo topics: politics, religion, money, and crates

I don’t believe in crates,” said the new puppy owner. I don’t want my dog to be confined; it’s cruel. She’s part of the family; she shouldn’t be in a cage, she should be with us.”

If you are guessing that this owner called me about housebreaking issues, you would be correct.

I’m not sure when the idea of crates became an ideology with its share of advocates and detractors. Crate-resistant people get really adamant – and vocal – about not using crates.

8-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Suki is nowhere near housebroken. Suki is usually kept in the kitchen, where there are child safety gates blocking every open doorway and pee pads scattered all over the floor. Her owners allow her to be outside the kitchen when they are at home “supervising” her though, so Suki has had accidents in pretty much every room in the house. Suki’s owners want her to ask them to go outside, and now are in despair that she will ever get the message.

If Suki’s owners are getting frustrated and desperate, Suki is just plain confused. Here is Suki’s thought process:

Oops, I gotta go potty. Since I’m stuck in the kitchen and can’t go to the door, no one seems to know that I need to go outside. I’ll sniff around in circles and pee……over here! This is pretty far away from my food dish. Ok, its kind of on that piece of paper. There sure is alot of paper on the floor. I’ll just lay on one. Yawn. This is boring. Hey, shredding the paper up – now, that’s fun!

Wow, I finally get to be out of the kitchen with my family. Hmmm, I need to go potty. No one sees me looking at the door so I’ll just go behind the big chair and potty there. I’ve been there before and it still smells like it. Plus, its far enough away from my bed and, you know “out of sight, out of mind.”

And if Suki could talk, here is what she might tell her owners:

  • So which is it? You want me to use the pee pads or go outside?? Make up your mind!

  • The kitchen is so big, I can still potty where I want to. If I had a smaller area (like a crate..hint...hint!) I would keep my little den clean. I’m a dog, and we like to do our business away from our beds.

  • If you kept me on a leash in the house, you would notice my signals when I have to go. Then you could bring me outside before I make a mistake.

  • My nose is super sensitive. I’ll usually go back to the same place to potty because I can smell that I went there before.

Suki has a point. For even more reasons to become a crate-believer, visit the Humane Society of the United States which promotes crate training.

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